Abhyasa and Vairagya

People often ask me what it takes to make progress on the path of yoga. I think I would first say to practice patience and compassion with yourself.I also remember learning from my teachers at Kripalu that two specific things are needed, as stated in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras, explains the importance of the abhyasa and vairagya (Sanskrit words) to achieving a yogic state of mind.

Abhyasa is a steadfast commitment to a consistent practice.

Vairagya means letting go of attachment to results.

Abhyasa, in Sanskrit, means “practice” and refers to a practice that aims at achieving a tranquil state of mind. Patanjali defines abhyasa as the practice or discipline that is used to attain and remain in a state of harmony with the self.

3 essentials are recommended for practicing abhyasa

  • Practicing for a longer time
  • Practicing without interruption
  • Staying committed to the practice.

Practicing Abhyasa and Vairagya in My Own Way

I have definitely stayed committed to this practice for a long time, and I am forever re-learning the “letting go” part. I have been riding this yoga wave for so many years. That’s thousands of classes, practices, meditations and pranayama sessions. Many times I have shown up motivated and joyful, but I have also shown up exhausted, sick, injured, sad, lonely, angry, disappointed, and tearful. But I have never regretted one single moment on the mat. I can honestly say this practice has saved me, has transformed my perception, and helped me be more gentle with myself.Sometimes being “experienced” as a yoga practitioner has nothing to do with the difficulty or the refinement of our poses, and is more about our ability to show up regularly again and again with compassion for ourselves, to do what we can, and surrender over and over again whenever necessary.

That’s Abhyasa and Vairagya. That’s what I know from 23 years of yoga practice.

Achieving a Yogic State of Mind: A Lifelong journey

The Light of yoga is a beautiful, sustaining, and inspiring thing. Hatha Yoga is an action you can take to elevate your spirit, calm your mind, and relax your body whenever you need that. The philosophical practices of yoga have opened my heart and strengthened me. I have also learned to say “No” when necessary and grow my boundaries. Yoga continues to grow my soul. That’s what I wish for you too.

~ Moira

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